Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi has revealed the part played by his family in the early days of his career at Arsenal to overcome pressure from supporters.
The Nigeria international, who ultimately chose to represent the country of his origin despite an opportunity to play for England at the senior level, spoke to Premier League Productions crew on the programme: ‘The Art of the Mind.’
The show focused on the mental health issues that affect footballers and how psychology is a huge part of a footballer’s daily life.
Former Brighton striker, Glenn Murray was joined by Dr. Michael Caulfield, a Sports Psychologist working with Premier League side, Brentford FC, to speak on how players’ well-being should be the prerogative of football clubs.
The quartet of David de Gea (Manchester United), Patrick Bamford (Leeds United), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) and Iwobi (Everton) spoke to Premier League Production crew on the challenges they faced at some stages of their careers in the league.
De Gea spoke on the goalkeeping mistakes he made, Bamford highlighted how depression set in following his long layoff due to injury while Xhaka spoke on how he almost left Arsenal after the fans turned on him after the game against Crystal Palace.
Iwobi’s words: “When I played for Arsenal, a lot of people questioned my abilities. The criticisms were just too much.
“But I had my family who stood behind me. My dad kept telling me that I am at such a big club for a reason and I should keep working hard. He was instrumental in me overcoming such harsh feedbacks.
“I owe my family a lot in this regard. These days, I just go out there and try and put in my best. I accepted the fact that there would always be critics,” Iwobi stated.
Iwobi was eventually sold to Everton in the summer of 2019 for £35m on a five-year deal where his game has significantly improved as he has been made to play in midfield away from his wide positions at Arsenal.